Certain injuries such as torn tendons may require a prosthetic in order to heal properly. The materials that are used for the prosthetic would be synthetic or natural polymers that need to be both biodegradable and flexible. Tendon tissue engineering (TE) looks into polymeric scaffolds as a means of tendon and ligament prosthetics. Some natural polymers used are collagen derivatives, silk, and polysaccharides that provide different properties with beneficial bioactivity. Synthetic polymers are a stronger and more reliable alternative to natural polymers for building a scaffold. These synthetic polymers are polyesters such as polyglycolic acid (PGA) and polylactic acid (PLA) that are biodegradable but unable to promote cell adhesion. Polyhydroxy esters like copolymer poly (lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) is another synthetic polymer, that has an appealing degradation rate via hydrolysis but needs to be combined with PLA to help slow its degradation. Another synthetic polymer, polycaprolactone (PCL), has slow degradation but poor cell adhesion, so it is combined with collagen. Certain techniques allow the scaffold to be formed into mesh, film, hydrogel, foam, and sponge. Electrospinning is one technique that charges a polymer solution to form a fiber to fit the specifics of the ECM. Drying technologies make the scaffolds porous and dehydrated, improving their degradation rate. A modern technique on the rise is 3D-printing, to make a repeatable and precise design. It is highlighted that TE scaffolds are seen to be a more viable option than autografts and allografts, with hybrid scaffolds being made of both natural and synthetic polymers to produce desired characteristics.
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Jackson, C. B. (2021). Polymeric Scaffolds Used as Prosthetics for Regenerating Tendons. D.U.Quark, 5 (2). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/duquark/vol5/iss2/7